12/16/2013 11:26 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Josh Zuchowski, 9-Year-Old Swimmer, Gives His Winning Trophy To Hospitalized Rival

Ordinarily, 9-year-old Josh Zuchowski likes to beat his swimming rival, Reese Branzell. They're top ranked swimmers in Florida.

But after the Santa Claus Swim Invitational on Dec. 7, when Josh took home first prize for his Jupiter Dragons swim team, he decided that something was more important than another victory.

In early November, 10-year-old Reese was hospitalized for a bone infection, WPBF reported. So when Reese was unable to compete last weekend, Josh sent him his winning trophy along with a note.

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“He said he's sorry I haven't been feeling well,” Reese told the news station. “'I won this trophy for you today, and I hope to see you back in the pool. Your friend, Josh.'”

Reese's father, Derek Branzell, told HLN that when he heard a swimmer from a rivaling team made the gesture, he knew it would be Josh. The two boys, despite being rivals, had always demonstrated good sportsmanship.

"I was speechless. I didn't know what to say," Derek Branzell told HLN. "A 9-year-old kid did this on his own. It was amazing."

Now, after a month in the hospital, Reese is back at home in Lake Lytle, Fla., according to HLN. Josh hasn't visited yet because of risk of infection, but his good deed has brought the pair closer.

Josh's dad, Jonathan, told HLN he couldn't be prouder.

Check out more images of Josh and Reese below.



Swimmer, 9, Gives Up His Trophy To Sick Rival